Set your GPS for Isleta Casino and Resort near Albuquerque
Don’t you just love autumn? The stunning spectacle of leaves turning ingot gold and fiery rust…that exhilarating first burst of cold morning air. Since those are NOT something we get to enjoy in Phoenix, P.B. and I always take at least one or more three to four day trips somewhere north where we can recharge from the long hot summer and enjoy autumn’s colorful show along the way.
This year, I’ve got a new place I want to visit – Isleta Casino & Resort in Albuquerque. Our local paper recently had an eight-page advertising supplement put out by the tourism department of the state of New Mexico and in it was an entire page devoted to this one casino. From the photos and descriptions, it looks like a great destination with plenty to do and lots to see plus it’s in one of our favorite Southwest cities. And, since the drive there and back takes us through miles and miles of high desert plains, mountains and forests, I’m betting that it will be one spectacular ride this fall.
Here’s the trip we’ve planned for this Fall that will take us through Northern Arizona and into New Mexico. There’s so much to see and do but we’ll be sure to leave lots of time for gaming and relaxing…as well as time for enjoying some great Southwest cuisine.
Day One- Leave Phoenix about 10 a.m. and drive north on the Beeline Highway (AZ 87) and follow it through the Tonto National Forest before stopping for lunch in Payson at Cucina Paradiso Italian restaurant. (Try their homemade spumoni ice cream – it’s well worth the calorie splurge.) After lunch, continue on through northern Arizona and on to New Mexico for a late afternoon check-in at Isleta Casino & Resort. (Call and ask about their $99 room rate during October.) Spend the rest of the day just tooling around the resort – probably play some video poker or slots. With more than 1,600 machines to choose from we should find some of our favorite games. Dinner that night is at the resort’s 505 Fusion restaurant where I will definitely try their posole – yum!
Day Two- If the weather is right, we’ll head to Isleta’s stocked lakes for some fishing and maybe a fall picnic lunch. Later, I’ll visit the spa for a chocolate facial (now that will take away any fishy smell from the day’s catch!) while P.B. takes a nap or plays in the casino. That evening, we’ll head into Albuquerque for a visit to the Old Town Plaza and a little shopping – you can never have too many pairs of silver and turquoise earrings – followed by a dinner of tamales and chile rellenos at the Church Street Café. Later, back at the resort, we’ll check out the entertainment in the lounge, play a little more poker and make this our late night out.
The city of Albuquerque rises along the Rio Grande river. (I should get some kind of prize for how many times I have correctly spelled the word "Albuquerque" in this post.)
Day Three – After we sleep in a bit we’ll have a late breakfast and then take a ride into Albuquerque and to Sandia Casino & Resort and try our luck there. Later that afternoon we’ll travel 4,000 feet up Sandia Peak on the famous Sandia Peak Tramway for a breath-taking view in every direction. We took the tram once in the spring a few years ago and had a wonderful experience so I can only imagine how beautiful the view will be with all the fall leaves blazing in the light of a late afternoon sunset. (Be sure to have a jacket available for the trip to the summit as it gets really cold at that elevation.) After the tram trip, it’s back to Isleta and an early dinner before calling it a night. We want to be well-rested for the drive home.
Day Four -Time to drive back to Phoenix but this time we’ll take I-40 all the way to Flagstaff and then head south to the Valley via I-17. If the timing is right, we’ll do a lunch stop at Cliff Castle Casino (exit 289 off I-17) for my Indian Fry Bread “fix” at the casino’s Gallery restaurant. Finally, home to Phoenix and a last burst of warm Indian summer temps before cooler weather comes to the desert.
Cucina Paradiso 512 N Beeline Hwy Payson, AZ 85541 (928) 468-6500